Houston area consumer warns of criminal histories
Arcola TV Repair is located in Bear Creek Business Park at 17430 W. Little York Road, Suite 1, in Houston. Photo by Raymond Alderete
By Nick McLain
When Angie's Listmember Shirley Staab of Tomball, Texas, hired Arcola TV Repair to replace a power supply in her TV, she says she didn't know that the man running the business, Archie Jolley, had a criminal background. "I never felt uncomfortable with him," says Staab, who gave the company an A report. "He even offered to miss church the next day to help me get it fixed."
Staab revised her judgment after learning that Jolley, 60, pleaded guilty to felony attempted murder for shooting his former wife in 1982, felony theft for stealing from a former employer in 1976 and misdemeanor terroristic threats for threatening a man with bodily harm in 2005. "Being a victim of a violent crime in the past, he might be trying to change, but I wouldn't want to have him in my home again," she says.
Jolley, who court records indicate spent a total of two days in jail and 16 years on probation for all three crimes, says he and his current wife, Louella Jolley, took over the TV repair shop (formerly called TVCents) at 17430 W. Little York Road in Bear Creek Business Park more than a year ago. The former owners - Jolley's daughter, Crystal Polanco, 25, and her husband, Aaron Polanco, 37 - allegedly fled the country after Harris County, Texas, authorities issued warrants for their arrests on child sexual assault charges.
"I haven't done anything. My company hasn't done anything," says Jolley, who refused to answer questions about his own criminal background. "I have distanced myself right from the beginning."
Sgt. J.D. Philpot of the Harris County Sheriff's Office says U.S. Marshals believe the Polancos fled to Mexico, but authorities there refuse extradition. "They told us the offense they committed here is not an offense in their country," he says.
Aaron Polanco faces six felony charges, including aggravated sexual assault of a child and promotion of child pornography, while Crystal Polanco faces three felony charges, including aggravated sexual assault.
Jolley denies having contact with Crystal Polanco or Aaron Polanco since they left Houston. "They didn't stay around and contradict the charges, so that seems to be automatic guilt," he told Angie's List Magazine. Despite his denials, Philpot suspects that he maintains contact with them. "He didn't know anything about the TV repair business," Philpot says. "I've gotten information that he is receiving faxes from Aaron and Crystal advising him how to run it."
According to arrest affidavits, the Polancos, from 2006 to 2009, allegedly carried on a sexual relationship with a boy, starting at age 13, who was the son of a nearby business owner. In September 2009, the boy brought his 15-year-old girlfriend to the Polancos' home, and Aaron Polanco allegedly sexually assaulted her. The boy told authorities that Crystal Polanco and Aaron Polanco sexually abused him at the office of TVCents on at least one occasion, according to court records. The boy's father reportedly found a nude picture of his son and Aaron Polanco on the boy's email and alerted authorities.
"[The Polancos] took advantage of him, introduced him to alcohol and made him feel he was part of a group," Philpot says. Neither had prior criminal histories, according to Philpot, who interviewed Aaron Polanco and Crystal Polanco on Feb. 12, 2010. During the interview, Aaron Polanco admitted to taking nude photographs of the boy and Crystal Polanco admitted to having sexual intercourse with him, according to the probable cause affidavits.
Sometime thereafter, the Polancos fled. However, they took time to contact Angie's List. Crystal Polanco called March 15, 2010, about their advertising contract, while Aaron Polanco called nearly a month later saying the business needed to close, which Crystal Polanco attributed to a "family emergency."
Prior to those calls, TVCents was highly rated on the List with 11 reports from 2008 to early 2010. Harris County records show Louella Jolley filed as owner of "Arcola Electronics" on April 12, 2010. One day later, Archie Jolley changed the company's name on the List to "Arcola TV Repair." Since then, only one member - Staab in November 2010 - filed a report on Arcola TV Repair. In April 2011, Archie contacted Angie's List to separate the two companies to accurately reflect his business activity, but he failed to supply proof that the businesses are in fact different entities. A notice on the company's profile now alerts members that the owner or a key employee associated with the company has been charged with a felony, and it's excluded from category or keyword searches.
Gina Hall, owner of Around The Clock A/C, Heating, & Appliances, says she and her husband moved their company out of Bear Creek Business Park in March because it's the "scariest place to work" with "shady activity going on all the time." She says she met Aaron Polanco once when she asked to borrow jumper cables, but never spoke to him again. "He was super nice," she says.
Hall says the business park is home to about 25 companies, but a search of Harris County, Texas, property records found only nine listed at that address. She also claims the one next to hers sold pornographic items. "Every company in there is shady," she says.